The Story Behind This Sign


On day two of the Summit we noticed a brand new sign over the church entrance. We were pretty sure it wasn't there the day before. And we were right.

Churches aren't allowed to have signs like this but they were given permission for this event...and permission to keep it up after the event.

It might be because they have taken two of the most garbage strewn streets in Old Havana and cleaned them up. Or it might be because they feed 50 kids every day out of their own money in cooperation with the government. Who knows. But they are making a difference and people know it.

On day one police arrived just before the conference started and some of us were concerned. But the reason for their visit was that the pastor had told them to come by and check things out. At the end of the day, two police received packets of books and a Bible. The next day six more showed up and were very happy to receive their Bibles. Their pastor is a visionary leader with heart to bring spiritual transformation to Cuba and train leaders who will multiply themselves, but it all begins with the neighborhood right outside their doors.

Pastor Pachy talking at the conference.

The Los Pinos Nuevos (New Pines) is an indigenous denomination named after a speech given by the island's most revered literary and historical figure, Jose Marti, who lived in the second half of the nineteenth century. Marti was a poet, journalist and activist against colonial rule who lived most of his life in exile.

The text of the Los Pinos Nuevos speech at the Marti memorial museum on Revolutionary Plaza.

The spot where Castro would give speeches to up to 2 million people.



The view from the "podium" today.


Havana Global Leadership Summit Day 2

If you’ve been to the Summit, you know that feeling at the end of the conference where you are so full and inspired, and you have been challenged to take what you’ve learned and apply it to make a kingdom difference. You’re ready to take on the world and itching to apply what you’ve learned. We experience that in spite of abundance of resources at our fingertips. Now imagine how a Cuban church leader who has no internet access besides email (only the government and hotels for tourists have internet), rarely travels far from home and has limited access to books feels leaving the Summit. The ones I talked to had never experienced anything like it. They loved it. And they’re ready for more. 

Standing to signify their commitment to carry on being leaders of churches that are the hope of the world.

This was not a Willow-run event, per se. The team from Primera Iglesia Evangelica "Los Pinos Nuevos" (First Evangelical Church, New Pines), in Old Havana, where we held the conference ran the event.


Willow usually does a two-day training for the administrative and technical leaders from Latin American churches in Guatemala or Mexico, but they didn’t get to do with this team. So with only a little training before the event, one Willow technical advisor from the Dominican Republic and a huge rented projector from the States, a team of dozens of volunteers pulled this off. They did a superb job, too. And they’re ready to take it on the road to other cities. 

The volunteers lining the side of the auditorium being thanked by the host and the participants.